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 SEATTLE (AP) -It's only one game, but it's a big deal to the Tigers.
Detroit catcher Ivan Rodriguez was incredulous and manager Jim Leyland was irate at what both feel is an unjustified one-game suspension issued Saturday by Major League Baseball. Rodriguez was suspended for making contact with an umpire during a game against the Seattle Mariners on Thursday.
Rodriguez, who was also fined an undisclosed amount, was ejected from Thursday's game in the fourth inning for arguing that he was interfered with while trying to throw out a base stealer.
``It's not right,'' Rodriguez said, adding he will appeal. The appeal will be heard by Bob Watson, baseball's vice president in charge of discipline.
Leyland was far more colorful about his displeasure.
``Arguments go on all the time, face-to-face, and there's not a suspension. To be suspended is ridiculous. That's bull,'' Leyland said.
Leyland is encouraging the 14-time All-Star not to drop his appeal, even though he said he is going to give Rodriguez Sunday's game off. If Rodriguez drops his appeal Sunday, he'd get his planned day off - and have the matter behind him.
``I just think you are morally wrong if you do that,'' Leyland said. ``That's saying, 'I accept the penalty and in good grace.' And I don't.
``The suspension is totally uncalled for.''
Thursday, as Rodriguez was trying to throw out Adrian Beltre on a hit-and-run play at second base, batter Yuniesky Betancourt was bent over and astride the plate. Rodriguez avoided making contact with Betancourt, but his throw sailed over second base and into center field.
As Beltre ran to third, Rodriguez gestured with one arm and then bent over and pointed at the plate with both hands to umpire Mike Winters, demonstrating how he felt Betancourt had impeded him. Winters yelled back at Rodriguez, ``You never touched him!''
Rodriguez then moved toward Winters and slightly brushed the umpire chest-to-chest as he continued to argue. Leyland said that Winters told him on the field immediately after the ejection that Rodriguez ``inadvertently'' made contact with him. And the manager believes that is what Winters wrote in the ejection report that the umpire sent to Watson, before Watson suspended Rodriguez.
Leyland emphasized he doesn't condone anyone being bumped.
``But the fact of the matter is if you are playing for big stakes, in the heat of battle, there are going to be arguments,'' he said. ``If they want to take that away, let's go to Sunday School ... (be) choir boys.''
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